Monday, July 06, 2020

Um, Take My Camera and head Downtown?

 So, on Tuesday evening the Mayor of Charleston - and the entire City Council - were unanimous in agreeing it was time to take down the 124-year old statue of John C. Calhoun.

Way to go guys...the statue has glared down from atop its lofty monument in the premier city park - Marion Square - for more than a century.

All of the citizens had to "look up at him."

The former 7th Vice President of the United States under two Presidents and a steadfast believer, owner and promoter of slavery, died in 1850.

He was dead before the Civil War erupted after he had encouraged the sanctity of States Right, of Nullification and missed seeing S.C.'s secession from the Union that he so very actively promoted.

He DID put up quite a battle as it took 17-hours to cut the bonds that held him
aloft and he was quickly lowered to the ground, tossed on a truck and hauled away.

The small crowd that watched this dramatic end was quiet and peaceful.

This was a block away from the Mother Emanual Church where 9 Blacks were gunned down by a young white supremacist, almost exactly 5 years before.

Rather than heading down to Marion Square, I watched the news coverage, snapped a few screen-saves and think I have a good overview of what went on down there.

I did dig around in my files and found a photo of me as a 4-year old, with my older brother, about 9, posed with the Calhoun monument behind us. This was about 1944.

We were living on Society Street then about 4-5 blocks away.... probably on a Sunday walk with our Mom.

Looking at the photos - and knowing my brother was 5 years older - I realize he really was SHORT!

I remember when I was about 11, a growing spurt shot me up taller, and then he was my older brother, not my taller Bro!

He died a few years ago and my younger brother and I flew to Cheyenne, Wyoming where he lived and we were bedside when he passed.

We both were glad he knew we were there.

Our Mom lived to be 96 so it appears I am in a pretty good gene pool.

Thanks for stopping by. Click on the photos for more details.

Oh, this is probably my FIRST blog posting where NONE of the photos is by me!

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Tuesday, June 23, 2020

Hey,wait a minnit..I heard this before..a few minutes ago.

Hey, here's an the middle of a Pandemic with closures and inconveniences...not to mention bars closed... I am pleading to LET me get a haircut!


It just keeps growing. I can't curtail or control what my feisty follicles are gonna do!

Oh, sure, my "alleged bald spot" is still uncovered way on the back of my head, where I can't see it, but the rest of my hairy head is..well, heavily hirsute and unkempt.

My several years-old beard is fairly easy to maintain in a trimmed and neat appearance but the rest...outta control ..especially after 90+ days of quiet compliance!

But, I digress.

This started out with a realization I have just heard on tv a memorable slogan by Liberty Mutual that has been highly visible on tv ads for some time now..."Only Pay For What You Need."

An insurance man with an unagreeable critter (LiMu the Emu) as his "associate," accepts a key to the city that is taller than he is and, in another tv ad, he waves down a speeding passing car with a plea "I Can Save You...and extends his rescuer's hand ..holding an insurance agent's business card..and adding he can save her "money... on insurance premiums!"

OK, it's cute in an odd sort of way and continues the stereotype of the aggressive insurance agent.

This is quite an old company. Has been around the block a lot.

I saw an ad for it in a November 23,1936 LIFE Magazine!

Lately, we have seen the "Struggling Actor looking for a break"...fumbling the simple lines in the tv ad.

"It's OK, we can dub it" says an off-screen voice and it runs with his lips out of sync with the spoken words.

Nowadays, the slogan is "Only Pay For What You Need!"

In fact, it is on tv enough times that when the slogan starts, we almost can say it aloud, along with the ad running.

BUT, I was faked out the last time I heard the catchy phrase.

It was advertising Verizon .

The Phone Company announcer clearly said: "Only Pay For What You Need!"

Can't think of any other time two entirely different national companies had the exact same slogan!

I just assumed I had heard it wrong but I started to jot it down, each time I heard it for either company.

Nope, I heard what I heard.

My particular phone carrier company happens to be T-Mobil and it's in the final stages of a massive merger with another phone industry giant NOT Verizon., 

Now I can't remember who's tagline line was "Can You Hear Me Now?"

This is a posting quite a bit off my beaten path but I hope someone can explain to me how an identical sales slogan can be shared by a phone carrier and a longtime Insurance Company.

"Maybe they can cover a lot of things because they've SEEN a lot of things."

OK, you know how this works here, click on the pictures - and any links - for more details

Thanks for stopping by. Stay home or wear a mask when among others. You are protecting THEM..hope they know and appreciate that!

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Thursday, June 18, 2020

Virus? Get some really BIG Plastic Baggies...

 So, keeping on top of the Covid-19 virus by staying at home, I am watching a LOT of television.

Usually, the NEWS is very depressing but I find myself taking a look at Deborah Norville, the comeback kid of television.

Originally she was to be the on-air replacement for Jane Pauley on NBC's TODAY show but that didn't work for the viewers and she was dumped.

In 1995 she took the helm of Inside Edition, now TV's longest-running, top-rated, and most-honored syndicated Newmagazine on CBS....25 years so far!

In a weekday as usual, I was watching the 4pm local news segment on TV5 WCSC.

Her half-hour show slips in at 4:30 and usually is very entertaining...and informative.

This day she caught my attention - and my camera - when she featured an innovative gym owner who figured a way to reopen during the physical-distancing Pandemic.

He fashioned 12 individual plastic "cubes" so an exerciser was isolated from the others health-seekers.

It apparently cost about $400 in plastic sheets and framing for  each of the cubes.

Some were furnished with a treadmill or an exer-cycle or barbells in others. A well-deserved sweaty hats off to an interesting workaround! wasn't the first time the plastic "bag" idea had been employed and seen on tv!

A few nights ago I had seen a music combo band working TOGETHER on stage, side-by-side, using the same isolation concept.

It was late and I usually watch A LATE SHOW with STEPHEN at home, so this was the live music segment at the end of his show...also on CBS.

It was The Flaming Lips band with a bubble-encased audience as well! They called it  "A socially distant concert."

I did not count the actual number of band members performing as a group - as opposed to individuals musicians in multi-screen attempts we have been seeing recently - but I snapped a few shots as soon as I realized here was something different on the music scene!

 I wrote recently about taking Freeze Frame photos of scenes from movies and tv series when I have had a role as an Extra.

I was NOT onscreen here but knew it would be hard to describe how a live band could safely gather together and perform in front of the camera.

 I did notice that one of the bubbles had TWO drummers inside but most of the others played solo

Of course, there was no bubble-wrapped live audience in the studio... uh, I think.

BUT, when I looked it up online there WAS!

Be sure to check it out! It was the BEST odd concert I have ever seen!!

You know how this works...just click on the photos and the links to see more details.

I really like innovation and here are two fine examples!  Enjoy...

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Sunday, June 14, 2020

"Here's Lookin' at You, Kid.."

Now that we ALL are staying at home and being in isolation, there is a need to reach out to others!

More so than before the pandemic suggested we keep to ourselves.

That we would be wise to wear a mask and practice social distancing.

Work on staying healthy and avoiding contact with the virus.

Amy, my talented daughter in Oakland, California, suggested we "bridge the gap" and do some face-to-face contact via online visual meetings!

Hey,. I like being on tv and in movies so I readily agreed and set up my end of the process.

She and Kathleen did a fine job at their home and we spent almost an hour "together" online.

 (It may have been SKYPE or some other program we used. I'll check on that.)

I am no stranger to catching a Freeze-Frame online.

 Here are views of both sides of the conversation.

I am sharing the ones they sent me and the ones I captured of them.

 You can see the easy exchange we were able to have.

I went through a stage when I really liked Boddingtons,  a light British creamy ale, and that became a prop for both sides of the conversation.

Yes, of course,  I had touted that beer so they searched for some out there in California.

Kathleen said the fancy beer store did not have it but had suggested she check the beer section at a grocery store. Yep, found a 4-pack there.

While she agreed it was smooth and tasty, she admitted she preferred an IPA with more bite.

I often freeze an image onscreen and take a photo.

Here is a full band performing onstage during the pandemic...each member isolated in a plastic bubble!

This was the unusual closing entertainment on a recent  A Late Show With Stephen Colbert From Home on CBS.

My frequent roles as an Extra on tv shows filming here has honed my skills at catching me in a scene and saving it.

This is a close up of a "Beak Mask" worn by doctors while treating the plague in Europe. It is a scene from THE GREAT about Alexander and Catherine. (That is NOT me wearing the mask).

Here is another Freeze frame showing Seth Meyers in his A CLOSER LOOK.

He shared he too is lacking a recent haircut, due to fears of close contact during precautions to slow the spread of Covid-19.

In the corner behind him is one of his kids who like to wander into the "set" in the attic while Seth is performing.

I have posted an image of me showing the look after almost 4 months since MY last haircut.

Not exactly a screen-save but I did not want this posted and get widespread views.

Sure, it's vanity. And I have fingers crossed that new case numbers go down so Great Clips can accommodate me again.

Hmm, so much for keeping THIS secret.

Speaking of hair - and lack of barbershops being open for trimming us - my favorite comic strip is called Pearls Before Swine by Stephen Pastis.

Stephen addressed this "hair-raising" situation recently and I snapped a photo of the strip to share.

My barber usually is a lady but hugging probably would still be discouraged.

OK, this wandered far afield to include late night tv hosts, the plague and my current hair photo that looks like a bad police mug shot.

As usual, click on the photos and links for more detail.

Please share my blog with your friends and feel free to make comments or ask questions.

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Friday, June 05, 2020

What a pain in the GRASS!

My yard had some low spots  - not really flooding, but areas of standing water after a rain.

My neighbor mentioned he was ordering four truckloads of dirt for his uneven yard.

Hmm,  so I had him order two loads for me.

The trucks arrived and my neighbor Marty helped me spread around my two truckloads of dirt to try to even my terrain. 

Marty spent a LOT of time riding back and forth on his riding mower, dragging a weighted piece of steel mesh to move dirt around and try to make it even.

That effort worked fine, puddles were indeed moved around... BUT NO GRASS has reappeared where the dirt was placed.

Marty also continued working on his yard - front and back - but, unlike me, he addressed it by having several truckloads of mulch delivered.

This he spread around over his similar hard-packed dirt.

Then he rented a HUGE roto-tiller to mix the mulch..along with many bags of grass seed..and then began to water his entire yard.

I had several idle rotating sprinklers and loaned them to him and, for about 20 days, he watered the whole area ....and grass has begun to show. I was envious!

Now, as I wander the affected part of my back yard (I was happy with my front yard and left it to Nature) I have my fingers crossed that the active grass tendrils slowly creeping out over the dirt will EVENTUALLY become the grassy area I used to have.

It is Hurricane Season again here now (June thru November) so LOTS of rain probably will fall. 

Please wish me and my "garden" well and the return of a new "grassy lawn" in my back yard!

Progress has been slow..but I can see some activity of spreading. 

Hey, it COULD turn out OK.

(I also believe in the Tooth Fairy!) 

Click on the photos for more details.

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Tuesday, June 02, 2020

Money Laundering during Pandemic

Well, "money laundering" might not be the proper term of killing a suspected virus spread.

But spraying my paper money with disinfectant seems like a good idea.

Shelter in place, social distancing, and avoiding meeting new people all are good tactics but getting tested is at the top of MY list.

Right after cleaning my cash.

I DID go to MUSC* and got tested a few days ago and it is a GREAT feeling to know you do NOT have coronavirus.

Testing my drawn blood sample for virus antibodies confirmed I have NOT had it and do not have it right now. Whew.

Being one of those elderly people, I do take certain meds to keep me fit and strong.

The good news is having them ordered online and delivered directly to my mailbox.

One more trip away from home is avoided.

Walgreens for OTC (Over The Counter) supplies like vitamins and maybe more masks can be done via the drive-up window. More and more places accept credit cards instead of potentially dangerous dough.

*Go online to check out free testing for Covid-19 antibodies with a simple blood test. would be a good place to start.

You fill out a survey form, stating any symptoms you may have/or have had.

That screening tells MUSC what steps you need to do next ..a nasal swab or having blood drawn to check for antibodies.

Before and after I was checked, I try to make sure I eat properly.

I wanted to stay healthy while "locked down" at home.

Dining out is slowing coming back as an option but for the last several months, I ventured into FROZEN PIZZA. 

I was pleasantly surprised by the ease of preparation (Oven at 400 degrees for about 17 minutes).

The taste and texture of DIY pies also was a pleasant surprise.

My routine MAY be different from most others, but, dining alone I tend to eat about half at the first sitting.

Then I place the rest in the fridge for a cold pizza treat the next day. Hey, it's not how most people eat their pizza but it works for me.

I WAS told how to re-heat a skillet ...and it comes out like fresh from the square box!

I still like mine cold the next day.

Who knew we would be isolated at home several months ago when I ordered a Screened Porch kit.

My plan was to enclose part of the deck along the back of my house to make sitting outside bug-free. It turned out fine and the "extra space" feels good to sit outside and read a novel.

So, I am coping at home and thus avoiding the protestors and angry mobs of looters attacking newly-reopened stores, restaurants, and venues.

A senseless murder of a black man in Minneapolis and the resulting angry protest reaction nationwide - and overseas - adds even more sadness during a stressful time.

Take care of yourself and others. Be safe out there.

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Sunday, May 24, 2020

Day by Day During A Pandemic...

OK, after nearly 3 months of SIP (Stay In Place), my life at least has a certain flow each day.

I now regularly stay up later and then sleep more.... used to be sort of a "morning person."

In the evenings, I am either reading, doing binge viewing on Netflix, or watching A Late Show with Stephen Colbert, broadcast from his den instead of the Ed Sullivan Theater.

As the intro says "and now, from a safe distance..:" and the band name is pronounced Stay Home-ing instead of Stay Human.

Because ALL of us miss our barber and hairstylists, I appreciate one night when Colbert's hair "looked different."

He explained he was bored and parted it on the other side.  Next night, it was correct again.

Or, maybe I catch A Closer Look with Seth Meyers, beaming at us from his attic. He did mention the small door behind him but did not explain where it goes.

I get up after sleeping 8 hours - sometimes 9 or even 10 - to start another predictable day.

Today was a bit different as the virus mitigation has begun to be eased a little.
Oh, I'm of an age that I will wait a bit before joining large, unmasked and shoulder-to-shoulder crowds gathering ANYWHERE.

About every 10 days or so I pocket my stuff (mask and Purell) and head to the nearby grocery store. It still has a single entry and exit and monitors the 75 people allowed in the store at a time. Today, however, I saw they are NOT really enforcing wearing a mask and that's a disappointment.

As I was checking out, a person came right up behind me, slapping down items on the moving belt at the register. I turned and said "Hope I am not in your way," as I edged away.

She, wearing no mask, said "Oh, no, that's OK." I pushed my sanitized cart away and said "I was being sarcastic."

I headed to the other place I have been to once before during this serious time.. OLLIE's Discount store, to replenish my Keurig coffee pods and maybe get a rug for my new screened porch. They have great bulk pricing on the handy little plastic cups and various-size rugs also were discounted right now.

I headed up Murry Drive toward Hanahan High School and up ahead, I thought I saw a cluster of old political signs...

... but was pleasantly surprised to see maybe half a mile of Senior Yearbook photos of the Class of 2020!

What a great idea!

I slowed down (traffic is still very light) and took a few photos.

I even pulled over for this one.

I didn't actually count the portraits but the signage lasted at least a quarter-mile (I don't estimate distance too great either.)

I was happy to see there was this extraordinary recognition for an important moment in these young people's lives.

(Hmm, I wonder if there would be an actual printed book for this graduating class.)

I treasure mine from Bishop England...Class of 1957!

Oh, in case you wondered, here is how Colbert looks with his usual part on the "correct " side!

Thanks for stopping by.

You've brightened up my isolated day.

Be safe! Be smart. Physical separation rules!

You know the way this on the photos for more details and, if there is a link, click on that to learn more

Oh, I did get a new coffee supply and now have a 9 x 6 carpet on my screened porch. Good price, too.  Thanks "Ollie."

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Friday, May 22, 2020

HAIR today...and probably tomorrow!

 OK, the stay-at-home mitigation seems to be working.

Ask any barber or hairstylist and they will agree people are NOT hopping into a barber chair.

In my case, my usual "every 6 weeks" trim was last done in early February.

I am not complaining but it reminded me of Past Haircuts I Have Seen and captured with my camera.

The two fellows having lunch were in Vancouver and I looked up to see a perfect match of head and "hair."

I waited for them to NOT notice me and my camera then snapped a photo of the green-haired young man.

In Paris, I spotted this gentleman chatting with his young date.

My camera has a very nice telephoto lens so I was able to back off some distance and be less conspicuous when I caught his hair in windy flight.

I doubt he would have noticed me ..he had eyes only for his female lunch companion.

Here is another candid shot of an impossible - and improbable - hairstyle.

I like it when I don't have to worry about eye contact as I capture a "hairy" moment.

This was at the Charleston International Airport back when people were getting onto planes and flying off with no care in the world.

But, right now as we slowly come out from our hunker down in-place mode, we still want to maintain Personal distancing.

Sitting in a barber chair as someone who is closer than 6 feet away, starts to trim your unruly hair, is very personal and somewhat daunting!

Of course, we both would be wearing masks so that would be a new added element.

Hmmm, I will have to lower mine so he (or she) could trim around my ears.

I am tempted to use my own clippers, and give it a whack at doing it myself.

My present "look" does not approach the famed mug shot of Nick Nolte from years ago but it IS disturbing.

This also is an example of Bad Bed Head so I do try to brush it into a better look.

But, there is SO much hair.

Back when I was playing different roles in tv shows filming here, I asked wardrobe to dress me in a bow tie.

It was a different look and, I believe, shifted attention away from my hair.

But, my hairstyle was still neatly trimmed so it did not present a too shabby look.

OK, guess that's enough about me needing a haircut.

I once saw a hair salon named "Every 6 Weeks" with scissors and a comb on the sign. It'll be nice to get back to that timely routine!

Thanks for stopping by for a virtual visit during the pandemic. Stay safe and wear a mask when you are among others. It is for THEIR safety.

Click on the photos and link for more details. Especially Nick Nolte!

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Tuesday, May 12, 2020

It MAY be cut short......

 Headlines are grim in today's paper after our restaurants were allowed to have people seat and eat INSIDE after trying patio dining for a few days. 

All the details about restrictions of only being able to use 50% of the available space and arranging tables (and bar stools?) so diners (and drinkers) were 6-feet apart were clearly publicized.

BUT, people grumbled that there were not enough bar stools and it took too long to sanitize tables, etc. before and after.

People! We were NOW allowed to leave our homes after more than two months of lockdown!! 

Go with the flow...follow the rules or we will be sentenced to house arrest again!

In my case, I live alone and have a brand new screen porch to sit out and may have kids underfoot, a spouse who is tired of one-on-one face-time and those dang pets are getting on your nerves! 

Maybe you FINALLY realize right now, only you can give yourself a haircut!

My dad tried giving us haircuts when I was growing up.

Literally, while reading the instructions that came with the electric clippers.

Fortunately for me, he gave it up after experimenting on my younger brother. Whew..that was a close one.

Hey, maybe get yourself a screen porch!

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Sunday, May 03, 2020

A Project to DIY for....

Yes, Do It Yourself (DIY) projects are indeed booming here as the pandemic continues.

However, when you realize you may be in over your head, make sure you know someone who can put on a mask, wash their hands
and come over to help you reach your goals.

When the kitchen free-standing Island cabinet arrived, I was surprised it came in three boxes on my front porch. Hmmm, I had assumed "free shipping and a completed item" was what I had ordered.

Oh well, that is past history now. There it sits in my kitchen, a new countertop to place things on, two drawers, and storage that  I could move around as needed.

Several weeks into my stay-at-home isolation, a very large truck from Alabama carefully backed into my yard.

This was the delivery of my long-awaited shipment of a Screen Porch Kit I had bought.

I realized this was NOT going to be a simple snap together job with a few various large panels.

No,  we kept unloading many, many, long, narrow thick cardboard boxes of aluminum pieces that would have to be put together.

Did I mention they were heavy boxes?

I saw that even the screen door was in a small long box too. Damn, gotta put the door together too! I hoped it had hinges in a small box and maybe a door handle.

Two 13-foot long boxes held the extension for the roof of the screen porch. They were light though.

They would be cut into 6.5-foot x 4-foot pieces and attached to rafters in my existing roof of the house

Well, I understood now all those long pieces had to be cut to precise size and assembled into the thick corner post, the long slots screwed down along the edges of the deck and other parts that would have to be cut to fit together correctly.

I contacted a buddy who had helped me on some pretty major interiors jobs at my house and he said that Yes, he HAD built a screen porch before but it was made of lumber and he felt we could do it with metal.

The half of the deck where the screen porch would emerge was cleared and furniture and plants were moved to the other end.

It was time to start opening the boxes of various 16-foot long metal pieces.

But, first, we took down the yard lights and a ceiling fan that might be in the way.

Turned out, the 15-year old fan was NOT gonna be in the way but it will be replaced with a brand new one.

I ordered a Hunter brand with a slim flush design that hugged the ceiling better.

It only extends down 9.5 inches.

You don't want tall people to discover a whirling ceiling fan too late with embarrassing bad results.

Besides it was time to replace the solidly-performing, slightly rusted old one.

The plans and drawings were very precise.

Soon random pieces of metal were joined together and formed a channel on three sides of the floor of the deck.

Then firm thick corner posts were assembled and cross members and upright post began to form the shape of my anticipated screened-in area.

At my age, I don't do ladders anymore so my buddy was up and down it a lot.

 And he mentioned he sort of wished this whole thing was at ground level instead of walking up and down my steps.

He's a good guy though and worked steadily with me to get this thing sorted out!

Dang! There WAS a full-size complete screen door in one of the long, skinny boxes.

And a piece with the hinges attached.

And a door handle.

Oh, why was I so doubtful of this amazing screen porch-in-a-box kit!

We stepped back and it was gorgeous..even better than I had imagined it would be!

The last thing to do is to unfurl the thick roll of black screening and install it all around.

Then it'll be time to sit back, enjoy the view and the breeze from the new overhead fan.

I think I hear foiled mosquitoes buzzing outside!

Thanks for stopping by for a glass of sweet tea, sitting in the shade on my new screen porch. Oops, keep 6-feet apart until we get the All Clear.

Click on the photos for greater detail. I took some with a Fisheye lens so some lines may appear bowed. They aren't -  everything is straight and ship-shape!

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